...And its about time someone stood up and said so!
Everyone's seen the shirt. "Fresno, it really does suck here." Now a new clothing line is out to prove that living in Fresno doesn't suck that bad after all.
Vera Jones - Jun 07, 2006
"Fresno doesn't suck" humorous apparel is the latest brainchild of local radio dj and comedian Rick Roddam, who thinks that a lot of places suck worse than Fresno does.
"Don't trash Fresno, trash Clovis. That's our motto," says Roddam. "Sure Fresno has problems, but at least it's not boring. Fresno has live music venues, art galleries, bands, guys selling corn on the cob from a bicycle, massage therapists who have affairs with wife killing murderers, substitute teachers on drugs, crackwhores, illegal police surveylance in bars, Kevin Federline, alarm companies that spank their employees and a mayor named Bubba. Clovis has a rodeo."
Roddam promises that the Fresno doesn't suck line will poke fun at anything and everything that makes Fresno exciting. And everyone. "We've got some funny shirts mocking Amber Frey, Marcus Wesson, the Fresno PD, the pothead substitute teacher, tweakers, Clovis rednecks, Fresno City College students who go to school for 5 years and end up delivering pizzas. Nobody's off limits."
Roddam makes a good point about the truly diverse and sometimes bizarre citizenry of Fresno. After seeing his shirts and reading his truly hilarious blogs on Myspace, I had to know more about the evil genius behind "Fresno Doesn't suck", so I sat down with Rick to ask him a few questions.
VJ: How long have you been selling you're apparel?
RR: Fresno Doesn't Suck is a brand new clothing line, launched in June of 2006
VJ: What gave you the idea?
RR: I kept seeing those shirts that say, "Fresno, it really does suck here" and I thought that someone needed to develop a line of clothing that can make fun of Fresno, acknowlege its problems and also promote civic pride at the same time.
VJ: Are you proud to be a Fresnan?
RR: I'm one of those people who both loves and hates Fresno. I'd rather be anywhere else, but I never want to leave.
VJ: I think a lot of people feel that way.
RR: I hope that as Fresno keeps getting bigger it will keep getting better. I think taking pride in Fresno is the first step towards improving the urban decay. If you are proud of something, you take care of it.
Clearly, the community leaders of the 70's, 80's and early 90's made civic pride take a backseat to greed. If those leaders had pride in Fresno, they wouldn't have pandered to northside developers while letting the south side of the city crumble. Now we're left to rebuild the mess they made. All big cities have problems, but running away to the suburbs only makes the problem worse. And what north Fresno has become is textbook "white-flight" suburbia.
Instead of digging in and working to improve the community, the powers that be packed up the SUV, moved the city north and buried their heads in the sand. Taking pride in the community is the best way to make things better. When downtown Fresno is alive with art, music and culture and the corner of Champlain and Perrin is crawling with crackwhores, then we'll know we're making progress.
VJ: What's the response been like?
RR: The response has been awesome. I was expecting to take some criticism for some of the more shocking designs, but so far everyone's had a good sense of humor.
VJ: Where do you get your ideas?
RR: Fresno is an interesting town. Everytime I read the paper, I come up with new ideas. The first line of Fresno Doesn't Suck Apparel is just the beginning, we've got plenty more dumb ideas where the first batch came from.
VJ: Local celebrity you'd like most to wear your gear?
RR: One of the shirts has a picture of Alan Autry in his old "Bubba" outfit from "In the Heat of the Night". Bubba is pictured next to Conan the Barbarian and the top of the shirt says, "Defending Fresno from the Terrorists". I'd give anything to see Autry or Schwarzenegger wear one in public.
VJ: How often will you be putting new stuff out?
RR: The goal is to add new designs every month. So go out and get a shirt, then look for the new ones in July.
VJ: Besides the myspace, Will you be developing a website?
RR: Fresnodoesntsuck.com is under construction as we speak and will launch before the end of the month. We're gonna load it up with not only the t-shirt designs, but also funny blogs about Fresno and some humorous commentary on Fresno related issues. In the meantime, you can check out the entire line at myspace.com/fresnodoesntsuck.
VJ: Will you expand to other central valley cities, like Madera or Chowchilla?
RR: We'll see. Our first goal is to get Fresno Doesn't Suck Apparel permanently banned from the Clovis Unified School District. Once that happens, we'll consider making fun of Madera and Tulare and Chowchilla.
(look for fresnodoesntsuck apparel in head shops, skate shops and trendy clothing stores all over the valley, or check them out at myspace.com/fresnodoesntsuck.)
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